Port’s trade zone ranked second

BROWNSVILLE — The Foreign Trade Zone of the Port of Brownsville has again ranked in the top five nationally among FTZs in the value of exports.

For 2016, the port’s FTZ (No. 62) ranked second for exports, according to the U.S. FTZ Board’s annual report to Congress, released Nov. 16, which noted that the port handled in excess of $2.8 billion in exported goods during the year. The port’s FTZ ranked 25th nationally for the value of goods imported — more than $2.5 billion.

FTZs are “secure areas under the supervision of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, considered outside the customs territory of the United States for the purposes of duty payment,” according to the Foreign-Trade Zones Board. FTZ status is granted by the board under the authority of the Foreign-Trade Zones Act of 1934.

It’s the second time in two years the port has been ranked second. The FTZ has ranked in the top five for exports every year since 2012.

Brownsville Navigation District Chairman John Wood said the port has made “great strides in creating a sustainable economic engine.”

“This ranking further demonstrates the value of the zone and the port’s overall role in transforming the Rio Grande Valley as a stable, reliable logistics platform for international trade,” he said.

Texas leads the country in FTZ activity, with FTZs handling more than $610 billion worth of goods in 2016. The United States has 195 active FTZs.

The port administers FTZ No. 62, which includes magnet sites at FINSA Industrial Park at Los Indios, NAFTA Industrial Park in Brownsville, Brownsville South Padre Island Air Cargo Complex, Port of Harlingen and Valley International Airport Industrial Park.

In 2013, the FTZ was approved for reorganization, allowing it to operate across Cameron County.

Port officials say increasing activity in the FTZ and at the port is largely due to the rapid growth of Mexico’s manufacturing sector.